Since the mid-1950s, the concept of "deterrence" has been at the forefront of US national security strategy. During the Cold War, deterrence was enshrined in the idea of mutually assured destruction, or MAD. The US and the Soviet Union were both of a mind should either be so bold as to attack the other first with a nuclear weapon, the consequence would be the annihilation of the offending country. Even threatening a nuclear response was unthinkable. Consequently, a superpower standoff existed until the fall of the Soviets and the dissolution of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1991.
Since then, deterrence has taken on a character that includes conventional weapons as well as nuclear. However, to be effective, deterrence requires two primary conditions. First, a country must have a military capability equal to or greater than its adversary. And second, a nation needs to proje...
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